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Ople Center appeals to gov’t to launch nationwide manhunt for illegal recruiters

August 26, 2016

OFW advocate Susan Ople called on law enforcement agencies in partnership with the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior and Local Governments and the Department of Labor and Employment to intensify its manhunt for illegal recruiters, particularly those with pending warrants of arrest.

The Ople Center recently referred a case involving more than 200 victims of illegal recruitment to the POEA and CIDG, with a majority of the victims recruited from Davao City. The victims pointed to a certain Osmando Nivero Habilag of Biwas, Tanza, Cavite, owner of Bantayog Travel and Tours and a certain Alejandro Navarro Jr, owner of PADS Travel Consultancy, as their illegal recruiters.

“One of the alleged illegal recruiters connected to this case, Alejandro Navarro, Jr. has multiple warrants of arrests, with one dating as far back as January 9, 2007. He also has a pending warrant of arrest for large-scale illegal recruitment issued by Caloocan City RTC Branch No. 121 dated February 27, 2008. We are calling on other victims of Alejandro Navarro and PADS Travel Consultancy to please get in touch with the POEA or the CIDG,” Ople said, adding that those who know about Navarro’s whereabouts are also encouraged to share the information with the POEA.

Osmando Nivero has been using social media to post announcements for jobs in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Japan, while in the process collecting amount ranging from Php 70,000 to Php 300,000 from illegal recruitment victims.

“While these illegal recruiters travel in their air-conditioned SUVs, their victims suffer mental and emotional anguish, hide from lenders and commute from one agency to another to seek justice, “ the daughter of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople said.

Many of Nivero’s victims are based in Davao City because he was able to enter and post on a Facebook account created by a group of butchers based in the city. After collecting the money, he would then tell his victims that PADS Travel Consultancy, which is owned by his cousin, Alejandro Navarro, Jr. is processing their papers.

Ople noted that the number of victims of illegal recruitment is rising due to social media and a low rate of convictions for those involved in the crime.

She cited data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that showed that the agency was able to obtain 31 convictions out of more than 700 cases filed with the Department of Justice for the last five years.  ###

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